By Charlotte Hood, Asst. Section Editor
Before Hurricane Irma carved its way through Florida, every activity, plan and event was put on hold as everyone prepared for the worst. Luckily, the school sustained minimal damage during the storm, but many events were postponed or cancelled after the 5-school day break. One such event was the annual 9/11 ceremony, which has been hosted at our school for nearly a decade.
Multiple factors contributed to the cancellation. The hurricane had stopped all preparations dead in their tracks as suppliers (such as the JROTC warehouse) shut down business to prepare for the oncoming hurricane.
“We didn’t have everything we needed for it to be a successful ceremony, like our uniforms,” battalion executive officer Marrina Guadagnino said.
Other factors included guest speakers having to take care of urgent business after the storm and being unable to attend the ceremony. Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher, who was supposed to be a guest speaker, had to help the city recover after the damage from the storm. Also, many students had to fly back from other states after evacuating, and those who stayed had to deal with the aftermath of Irma.
“It was too hectic,” said Lt. Col. Gregory Johnson, JROTC senior instructor. “Coming back the week after, the first day or two, was such a weird feeling [for students].”
Many JROTC students felt disappointed that the ceremony had been called off after spending weeks practicing for their showcase at the event.
“It was sad that it was cancelled because we worked hard and it’s an annual thing for us,” sophomore Holly Merriman said.
Luckily, many of the showcases and activities planned for the 9/11 event will be featured during the Fallen Heroes ceremony on November 9, including the special guest speaker and the drills performed by JROTC students.
“Definitely disappointed but, now that we have Fallen Heroes, it’s another chance,” said senior Harrison Smith, who is part of the color guard.
According to Lt. Col. Johnson, the purpose of the presentations was to allow students to have a personal connection to the attack, even though many were toddlers at the time, by bringing in guests who experienced the event first hand, a feeling that history books are unable to grasp.
“History books sanitize it,” Lt. Col. Johnson said. “They take something to a picture, or paragraph, or chart. (The ceremony) makes it more personal. It makes it to where it’s painful to remind people that there is that type of evil out there.”